Monday, October 25, 2010

13 Steps

The Haunted Gallery is very happy to present a very special item.
After several hours of sifting through forgotten piles of media, I have reclaimed an old college project from the ever present threat of oblivion.

The piece is entitled "13 Steps". It is a poem that I wrote many years ago. What makes it so special though is that it was recorded and edited with lots of eerie sounds and music. For the narration, I enlisted the help of a friend of mine from England who has a wonderful voice. Her accent combined with the sound effects give this poem a wonderfully spooky atmosphere.

The poem is about that terrifying moment you realize that you are in a very dark place... too far away from the light switch.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Welcome Committee

The ambassadors of Halloween. (At least for our neighborhood)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Neighborhood Alert

This year's Halloween theme is Jack the Ripper. This sign is posted out in front of the house.

Samhain Sunset (The First Halloween)

"Even in Autumn, you are not safe. Stay indoors, attend your hearths. Try to keep the night at bay by the telling of your tongue. Remember your kin, honor your ancestors. For at this time the dead begin to stir, riding upon hallowed and familiar roads, galloping through villages and wastes, flying through the forests of the mind. Such raids are reminders that the past is not a dead thing, but may return, like a hunter, to follow us for a time."
                                                               - Unknown 

It's interesting to sit and ponder what the first Halloween must have been like. I've read about the origins of Halloween and just how long ago it began. (Halloween is 1,000 years older than Christmas.) I've learned how many of the traditions we celebrate today derive from ancient customs that held a more serious purpose back then. Halloween was born in a time when man had no explanation for the mysteries of world around him. Very little of our surroundings made sense and without the enlightening virtues of science, man was at the mercy of the dark shadows of superstition and the unknown. 

It's fun to imagine the rituals and the social elements of the earliest Halloween, but my mind always brings me back to a scene that I have always felt best exemplifies the mood of such a spooky time.

I envision a young man on top of a hill. Behind him somewhere off in the growing darkness is a small village. From where he stands he cannot see it but he can hear the distant barking of dogs and the occasional laughter. The faint sounds of his village make him feel even more alone. In front of him lies a rolling wilderness. One day the forests below him will become a patchwork of fields and pastures but in his time nature still holds dominance over the affairs of men. In the distance, the sun has just set behind a line of black hills. The night is chilly and a thick fog settles in the valleys. This evening marks the end of the summer and the beginning of the season of death. The leaves have fallen, the crops have been harvested, the animals in the forest have grown quite. The future is a cold darkness.

The darkness, like a pack of hungry wolves, is creeping towards him. With it manifests the memories and tales of strange creatures and spirits that favor the night and fear the day. This night of all nights, the dead are permitted to return to spend an evening amongst the living. The young man stands near a bonfire prepared to scare away the spirits of evil and beacon those of his ancestors, although the thought of any spirits approaching at all sends a shiver down his spine. His job is to maintain the flame until the sun rises in the morning. In doing so, he will keep his people safe from the darkness.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The ScareJoe

My first scarecrow. Nothing terrifies young Soldiers like a Drill Sergeant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Lonley Gallery

Hey everyone,

It's been a bit slow here at the Gallery but I have more great offerings in the works, I promise. I have been devoting most of my free time to decorating and getting ready for Halloween. This Halloween is somewhat of a surprise gift for me this year. Early redeployment from Iraq means I get to celebrate at home! Needless to say, we are pulling out all the stops. There will be plenty of Halloween pictures, artwork and THE BEST Halloween party music playlist ever to share as this awesome month creeps along so please do stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Music for a Haunted Gallery - Volume I

As our humble gallery grows, it becomes evident out appreciation for music as both a source of inspiration and accompaniment of composition. Below is assembled a short volume of musical arrangements that can be often heard echoing through the candle-lit halls of the Haunted Gallery, no doubt by some spectral musician who occupies one of the many darkened chambers...

"The children of the night, what sweet music they make."
                                                                           - Dracula

The songs below are linked to youtube videos. The visual content is irrelevant. The videos were only chosen for sound.  

Partita no. 2 for Solo Violin - (the ghost of) Johann Sebastian Bach

New World - Philip Glass

Dumka - (the ghost of) Antonín Dvořák

Danse Macabre - (the ghost of ) Camille Saint-Saëns

Wraithmarsh - Russell Shaw (Fable II soundtrack)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

The circus has always had an underlying element of terror in my opinion. I'm sure it has a lot to do with clowns.
This song was playing in my head the whole time I was making this image. It fits the mood perfectly.
I am almost certain the video is going to give you nightmares.